Tanzania says if dialogue fails with Malawi: ‘ICJ to help, no war’

Tanzania’s Foreign Affairs and International Co-operation Minister Bernard Membe has said if Malawi and Tanzania fail to reach a compromise on the border misunderstanding, international bodies will come in to help but at no point will a bullet be fired by the two neibhoring countries.

Membe made the reassuring disclosure at a breakfast meeting with Malawi Foreign Affairs Minister Ephraim Mganda Chiume held at Hotel VIP on Thursday in Maputo.

In an interview with Malawi News Agency (MANA), Membe said the border issue has been there for over 50 years and what needs to be done is make a clear cut demarcation on whether the border is in the middle of the lake or the shore, failing which other international bodies will come in.

Malawi Foreign Affairs Minister, Chiume (left) Tanzania Foreign Affiars Minister Membe (right) at the meeting

“This is a bilateral issue that will be resolved by the two countries, but if their dialogue fails, international bodies like the International Court of Justice will come in, listen to both arguments and make a decision,” he said.

He emphasized that there will be no gun or bullet to be used to resolve the issue because Tanzania has fought wars in the past and knows what kind of devastation they bring and thus would not want to bring such effects to both countries and their citizens.

“The border misunderstanding will be resolved through negotiated settlement diplomatically. There is no substitute for diplomacy, there will be diplomacy, diplomacy and more diplomacy,” Membe emphasized.

He advised citizens from both countries not to listen to anybody else but only to their Presidents or Foreign Affairs Ministers as these are the ones who make policies that guide what a country does.

Membe confirmed that there will be effective talks of a joint committee of experts to be held in the Northern Malawi City of Mzuzu from 20 to 24 August followed by a meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers in Lilongwe on 25 August, all meant to resolve the border issue amicably.

Malawi’s Foreign Affairs Minister added that to indicate the good relationship between the two countries, Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete has invited Malawi’s President Mrs. Joyce Banda for a state visit soon.

According to Chiume, the two Presidents will also meet on Friday before the official opening of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Summit in the oceanic Mozambique capital of Maputo.

Rumours of a possible war between Malawi and Tanzania have recently been circulating in the two countries over Lake Malawi which borders the two countries.

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